Merchandise planners are key players in the purchasing environment of a retail company. It is a high profile activity which involves financial seasonal planning of sales, stock levels, production requirements and the control of the purchase relative to planned levels of for example colour, fabric and branch/store volumes. Merchandise planners analyze and forecast trends financially, as well as product trends, through the use of computerized systems. They lead and coordinate the activities of the distribution team which involves reviewing performance by products at a branch and manipulating available stock.
Merchandise planners liaise closely with the fashion buyer, as well as senior management, manufacturers and operational staff.
Merchandise planners must have entrepreneurial skills, business orientation, good people skills and calm temperaments. They must be highly numerate, confident, determined and have an enquiring mind.
Merchandise Planning Managers serve as subject matter experts on all issues pertaining to the planning function. Working with the senior management team, Merchandise Planning Managers ensure that the planning process is executed consistently and in accordance with the companys goals and objectives. They must ensure their teams effectively partner with Merchants and Inventory Management to identify and implement strategies to achieve or exceed goals.